France's Other Problem --- Job-Killing Economics

By Elder, Larry | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, January 15, 2015 | Go to article overview

France's Other Problem --- Job-Killing Economics


Elder, Larry, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


Islamic terrorists slaughtered 17 innocents in Paris in an attack described as "France's 9/11."

The two terrorist suspects at the satirical newspaper massacre are brothers, born and raised in France, children of parents who emigrated from Algeria. Some blame France's failure to "assimilate" Muslim youth on their attraction to violent jihad. While almost 25 percent of French youth is out of work, the number of young French Muslim people without jobs is over 40 percent. Muslims account for 10 percent of the French population but occupy 60 percent of its jails.

Never mind that Osama bin Laden was wealthy. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current head of al Qaeda, is a doctor. Several of the terrorists who crashed planes into buildings and into Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001, were middle class or better, and several were college grads.

But assuming "lack of opportunity" is a cause for the attraction to violent jihad, why does the French economy offer so few options? The answer is simple: job-killing economics.

At all levels of government, France takes over 44 percent of the earnings of its citizens. And this is before one assigns a cost to the numerous regulations placed on the shoulders of French entrepreneurs. In America, at all three levels -- federal, state and local -- government takes 33 percent of GDP, including mandates like Social Security. Add a cost to regulations mandated by state and local government, and UCLA economist Lee Ohanian says that government takes over 50 percent. Assume the same "cost percentage" that Americans pay for regulations to the French and you have a French economy where government takes about 65 percent of the earnings its people.

So what does France do? They elect a president, Francois Hollande, who literally said he "hates the rich." To demonstrate the hatred, the new president imposed a top marginal tax rate of 75 percent on incomes over 1 million euros. Rich people don't become rich for being stupid, so some did the commonsensical thing. Rich people left.

How idiotic are the economics in France? Get this. An employer, even one running a nonprofit, can hire a young worker and have the government pay up to 75 percent of his or her wages. Supposedly, this induces employers to hire young people. But from where does the money come? And how was it productive for government to subsidize salaries, let alone up to 75 percent!

About this scheme, the Wall Street Journal wrote: "By opening its wallet, the government is relying on the playbook of previous French presidents who financed jobs on a massive scale in an attempt to bend the unemployment curve. …

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